Sunday, January 30, 2022

Winter Musings

One of the YouTube channels that I enjoy passing the time with is Time Team Classics.  The show is about archeologists who are quite expert and colorful characters (and in general very poor dressers as far as TV hosts go LOL!) who go around Great Britain excavating historical sites.  It appears that in Britain you can't swing a cat without hitting layers and layers of past civilizations from the Bronze age to the Roman occupation through the Angles and Saxons and so on and so forth.  That is quite an interesting concept to a native New Yorker where the indigenous peoples left only a faint footprint of mounds or flint arrowheads and a building is considered ancient if it has been standing a mere 300 years.

I've watched hours of trenching where they study the composition of the soil and the building methods of stone piles.  Even without finding bones or pottery or weapons or coins and jewelry they can still tell a lot about a site just by the soil qualities. They can spot the site of a timber building by finding a pattern of dark soil where the posts rotted in their holes.  They can age a wall by finding the undisturbed soil beneath.  They can find a cooking hearth by noticing a pattern of charcoal and scorched clay.  All these subtleties makes me wonder what they would imagine went on here at our site if it were abandoned for two thousand years and they were unfamiliar with our lifestyle.

Here are some of our garden features and my archeological guesses.

Roadside watering hole?
Or elaborate drain?

Simple brush pile or ritualistic sacrifice site?

Gathering place or summer cooking?

Poorly built stone rampart destroyed by invasion?
Water filtration?
Certainly not a garden folly....

Animal enclosures?
Market stalls?

Location of muck pile? that would be a far out guess
Or shady lounge area?

Small scale agriculture or animal pens?

As a parting shot:  Remembering Warmer Days

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Waiting for the Winter Storm

Here we sit, with chest colds, sipping hot soup, waiting for the winter storm developing in the south east to make its way here over night.  We expect to wake up to a foot of snow.  The past two nights have been bitter cold, single digits.  I brought my dahlia tubers into the basement because in single digits the bulkhead gets into the low 30s and I didn't want any nasty surprises.  Other than that it maintains around 40 degrees.  I need to go down there and put them back out now that is warmed back up into the 20s.

On days like this its nice to look back over garden pictures.  I chose the one above because I remember how cool and lush the irises looked that day - a warm June morning.  These irises are at the entrance of the drive so they are right at eye level out a car window.

That got me into looking through my "history" file where I keep milestone photos of our property.  It is amazing how much has changed in just the past 5 to 10 years.  These aren't even early, shocking "before" photos.  These "before " photos are more like "midstream" glimpses of the changes this property has gone through over the past 19 years.

Our side entrance was quite bare for many years while we worked up the energy and inspiration to finish its transformation.  The new deck gives it quite a sleek modern look but I admire it all the time for its clean and orderly atmosphere.  It is both utilitarian and welcoming.  I am excited to see the new perennial bed in this, its third year, because it will really take off.

If you look back to the very beginning you can see how much the house and plantings have changed. 

The plantings have moved on even further now, but this photo below  from a few years ago shows how colorful it has become.

Our furthest side yard has transformed the most.  This started as scrubby woods and at first we just cleared the undergrowth but the ash trees remained.  These ash trees were gone before the Emerald Ash Borer really got started in this neck of the woods.

We replaced them with the London Plane trees which have done so well here.

Our firepit area also started out as an ash woodland.  The larger tree on the left became my kitchen countertop and when the stump rotted leaving a sinkhole, we turned that into the firepit.  The Maple tree shown just to the right of where my husband is sitting in this photo has survived all of the transformations and now gives us shady afternoons for sitting and relaxing.

You can see that Maple in the photo below.  It has extra lawn chairs stacked around it and is now surrounded by gravel.  It took us a long time to decide how we would manage the ground around that tree so it would be low maintenance and keep the tree happy.  We finally decided on a thin layer of gravel over bare dirt so the roots would be mostly undisturbed and so far it has been a good choice.

The lawn immediately south of the garden shed has undergone a lot of changes too.

This little area where my dahlia bed and apple tree are now has become the hub of my daily gardening activities.

Another view of the fire pit area before...

...and after.

Those photos represent about ten years of summer projects.  We only have one project slated for this coming summer.  We have to do something about the backyard drainage (again).  We haven't gone far enough with our dry creek bed.  We will see what develops.  Of course, we didn't intend to do any major projects last year and just look what happened.  

Its a beautiful sunny day out today.  And when I look out the window I don't see snow...
I see flowers.